New York: Reiterating its commitment to play a leading role in combating climate change, India on Monday urged the developed nations to discharge their responsibility in the search for the common good with finance and technology transfer.
Speaking at the 71st session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) here, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj said the true challenge that the world community is facing at present is to “end the curse of harsh poverty that still lurks in so many corners of our world; to ensure that the fruits of growing prosperity reach those who need it most; to take forward the mission of gender equality and protect women where there is gender regression; and to ensure peace across boundaries, not least because there can be no prosperity without peace.”
“We must remember that we will be defined not just by our actions, but equally by our inaction,” she said.
“A number of issues have been debated in this august Assembly — from the necessity of global partnerships in sharing new vaccines and promoting access to affordable drugs to counter anti-microbial resistance, to the need for faster implementation of the Sendai Framework to mitigate the risk of natural disasters. From the challenge of ensuring well-ordered mobility of productive human resources, to the necessity of adequate consultations with Troop Contributing Countries before framing mandates for UN Peacekeeping Operations,” she added.
Swaraj also congratulated the UN General Assembly for the priority it has given to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by making them the theme for the 71st UNGA.
“I am happy that the 17 goals adopted by this Assembly are matched by the development vision of my Government, which is geared towards the achievement of these same objectives,” she said.
Highlighting various schemes implemented by the Government of India in conjunction with the SDGs, the External Affairs Minister said, “Under the ‘Swachh Bharat Mission’, more than 4, 00, 000 toilets have been constructed in schools; ‘Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao’ (Educate the Girl Child, Save the Girl Child) programme has become a nation-wide mission; ‘Make in India’ is receiving international acclamation; under the Jan Dhan Yojana, almost 250 million bank accounts have been opened for the poor, making it the world’s largest financial inclusion programme; ‘Digital India’ is transforming the country; and under the ‘Skill India’ programme, a number of skilling programmes are underway for the youth to enable us to reap the demographic dividend.”
“Nothing underlines our commitment to the SDGs more than the approach of our National Parliament. We are all aware that 1/6th of humanity live in India. Therefore, global success in realizing SDGs depends on the success achieved in India. We are committed to the wholehearted implementation of the Agenda 2030 as a national effort. We have decided to dedicate one day in each session of our Parliament for discussions only on SDGs. This will enable us to constantly monitor their progress and this will give us good results,” she added.
Asserting that there are enough resources on this planet to fulfil everyone’s needs, but not enough to fulfill everyone’s greed, for greed is limitless, Swaraj said that “we should respect nature”.
“If we respect nature, nature will respect us and nurture us and future generations. In this context, Prime Minister Modi has championed a new concept-Climate Justice. If we respect nature, nature will respect us and nurture us and future generations. But, if we exploit and nature mindlessly, then we must be mindful that nature will unleash its fury upon us,” she said.
“We must curb reckless consumption, and adopt lifestyles in harmony with nature. Yoga, the storehouse of India’s ancient wisdom, epitomises a sustainable lifestyle. Let me record our gratitude for the unprecedented global response to the International Day of Yoga,” she added.
Asserting that in the Paris Agreement, the principle of ‘Common but Differentiated Responsibilities’ and ‘Respective Capabilities’ has been acknowledged and accepted, she said that India has launched an ambitious domestic effort to transform its energy mix to achieve 40 percent energy from non-fossil fuel sources by 2030.
“The massive investments required entail a predictable and stable environment towards which we are working actively. Apart from this, our path-breaking initiative for an International Solar Alliance is intended to make efficient solar technology available for all,” she said.
“We have decided to submit our Instrument of Ratification of the Paris Agreement on October 2, the birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi who epitomised a lifestyle with the smallest carbon footprint,” she informed.